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East Bank Ross Lake

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There are 26 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Happy-Panther, East Bank Ross Lake — Jan 05, 2014 — Sir-Hikes-A-Lot
Issues: Blowdowns
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It's quite remarkable, but most of the lower elevation trails in the North Cascaded NP are still acc...
It's quite remarkable, but most of the lower elevation trails in the North Cascaded NP are still accessible. I figured I would take full advantage and head out for an overnight while the getting is still good.

Due to Highway 20 being gated at the Ross Dam TH, to reach the East Bank TH you have one of two options; hike the Happy Panther Trail (which is a very pleasant forest walk) or walk the highway (which is rather enjoyable when there are no vehicles to worry about). Personally, I like to hike out on the Happy Panther Trail and return via the highway, just to mix it, the highway walk has some great views.

The Happy Panther Trail is in good shape, with 5 or 6 small blow-downs to the East Bank TH. The last mile or so has a light dusting of snow and there are some icy spots.

The East Bank Trail is in good shape as well. From the East Bank TH to the Desolation Peak TH there are 12-15 small blow-downs. From the East Bank TH to the north side of Hidden Hand Pass there is a trace of snow (less than an inch), otherwise the route is snow free.

There are no creek crossing issues and all camps along the way are in good shape.

Trails like Thunder Cr, Big Beaver, Happy Panther, East Bank, and Ruby Cr are all still very accessible and make great day or overnight destinations. There is nothing but solitude waiting in these areas!

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East Bank Ross Lake, Desolation Peak — Aug 08, 2013 — Rebecca Lavigne
Multi-night backpack
Issues: Bugs
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These will probably be my hardest won miles of Hike-a-Thon 2013, but they were so worth it. With a c...
These will probably be my hardest won miles of Hike-a-Thon 2013, but they were so worth it. With a canoe and permits for 4 nights of camping on Ross Lake, Desolation Peak was our hoped-for destination on the third day.

Following a short paddle from camp on nearby Cat Island, we arrived at the Desolation dock hoping the light rain would let up and the clouds would clear. Both happened in fairly short order and by the time we broke completely out into the open about 2-3 miles up the (steep!) trail, it was hot.

The peak more than lived up to its promise of stunning North Cascades views ranging from Mount Baker to the Pasayten, north into Canada, and south to the Glacier Peak area. We were alert for building thunderheads to the east, which had rolled through the night before, and could see them forming by early afternoon. I heard the clucking of a female grouse and then saw her ushering one or two little ones across the trail just below the lookout.

That night we camped again on Cat Island and watched the thunder/lightning storm descend over Highway 20 (subsequently causing mudslides that closed the highway and a washout closing the Cascade River Road and stranding hikers temporarily at Cascade Pass) - it moved north and engulfed us around 9pm.

The next morning we paddled south to Lightning Creek near the official start of the Desolation Peak Trail. I got dropped off by the bridge to hike a section of the lush East Bank Trail south to Devil's Camp where I would pick up the boat again (and meet my husband who offered to paddle our boat solo while I logged a few more miles for Hike-a-Thon!)

The gentle East Bank Trail was moss covered the entire way, passing several beautiful streams and some big trees. The trail drainage was put to the test with the heavy rains the two previous nights and performed well except for a couple of small muddy sections. I would love to explore the rest of the trail someday.

A few more details on Desolation Peak trail conditions: The lookout was locked, unfortunately, with a friendly note asking hikers not to break in. We ran into one other party the entire day - surprising for a Saturday in August. The meadows below the lookout had a few wildflowers holding on but most were done for the season. A handful of blowdowns along the way were easy to step over except one in the final mile before the top where hikers have beat a path around it. Mosquitoes were plentiful on the trail but nowhere to be seen on the peak. Tons of flies could be heard buzzing around the lookout but very few were actually biting. Bring plenty of water - there is a little rivulet in the first 2 miles of the trail that has all but dried up.
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Desolation Peak, East Bank Ross Lake, Happy-Panther — Jun 30, 2013 — MikeOnAHike
Multi-night backpack
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Beautiful views from Desolation Peak. Definitely in my top 10, and possibly my top 5. You work for...
Beautiful views from Desolation Peak. Definitely in my top 10, and possibly my top 5. You work for it, though. The trail is steep, and it was about 85 degrees when we went up. As Craig Romano mentions in Backpacking Washington, there is a small stream a mile or two before Desolation Camp. The way I read the book, I expected the water source to be present year-round. After seeing it, though, I'd be surprised if it's there for much longer this year. There were still a few patches of snow on Desolation Peak, but not much, and not enough to pose any navigation or footing problems.

Desolation Camp was pretty nice, though we did have some minor issues with wildlife. Bear Cans are required at that camp. We tied our can to a tree, to make sure that some animal didn't knock it down the side of the mountain. In the middle of the night, we heard an animal messing with the bear can. In the morning, I found the rope chewed into two pieces, with both pieces being thoroughly damaged. Luckily, the rope was enough to keep the bear can from walking away. I also was awakened periodically by a mosquito buzzing right next to my ear on the other side of my tent's mesh. I was glad to have a tent and not a tarp at this camp.

The next day we hiked south to Devil's Junction. We only saw a few day hikers on the way to camp. That section of the trail isn't particularly interesting, though I admit that I was distracted by the heat wave that we were having.

Devil's Junction boat camp apparently has 3 sites. One of them is right on the lake with a nice large ad level tent pad, a dock, a nice beach, a bear box, and an outhouse. The other one is down a trail with numerous blowdowns. The tent spot is on a rocky bluff overlooking the water. It's almost big enough to stake a 3 person tent. I made it work by substituting rocks for stakes in 3 places. The rocks retain a lot of heat, so we had to stay up for a while and wait for the tent to cool down before we could go to sleep. I'd never slept with the fly off before, and will say that it was pretty awesome to wake up in the middle of the night and see the big dipper.

The next day we got up really early so that we could get in as many miles as possible before the trail heated up. We hiked south to Hidden Hand group site. The trail between these two sections was nice for a few miles, but then turned inland again. This was also the only time when we had to cross a river without a bridge. Fortunately, there was a nice wide log to cross on.

Hidden Hand group site is not the most beautiful site. It's dusty, and the forest is thin and doesn't provide much shade. There is a nice little stream to get water from. The camp is divided into tent areas and cooking areas. The cooking area is much nicer, and I'd suggest hanging out there and only returning to the tent area when it's time to go to bed.

All of the camps that I stayed at had pit toilets or out houses.

On the last day, we hiked south again until we hit highway 20, and then hiked on the Happy Panther trail until we got back to the Ross Lake Resort trailhead. Happy Panther was actually a pretty nice trail. Much nicer (and quieter) than I expected for a trail that runs parallel to a highway.

While there was some pretty nice scenery, I'm not sure that there was enough to justify 32 miles of hiking. There was plenty of solitude, though, and the lakeside camp sites can be pretty nice.

I think the trail was in good condition. I don't remember any problems with bugs or blowdowns - just heat.

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East Bank Ross Lake, Ruby, Jackita Ridge, Devil's Ridge — Jun 29, 2013 — LDistel
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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Full trip report and photos are up on my blog here: Overall, ther...
Full trip report and photos are up on my blog here:

Overall, there still is significant snow on Jackita Ridge, with route finding and cross-country travel necessary; no issues on Devil's Ridge. Difficult overgrowth and blowdowns from Dry Creek Pass to Ross Lake.

Abundant water throughout.
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East Bank Ross Lake — Jun 18, 2013 — Kellbell
Multi-night backpack
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This was going to be my big birthday bash...not so much. But if your going to do a hike in the rain,...
This was going to be my big birthday bash...not so much. But if your going to do a hike in the rain, this one is not so bad. To read a really long story about my adventure (but it's good...I think)click here, and keep clicking. :)http://kellbell-whywouldany[…]ail-ross-lake-part-one.html
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East Bank Ross Lake joyhiker.jpg
East Bank Ross Lake Trail between Rainbow Point and Devil's Junction. Photo by JoyHiker.
East Bank Ross Lake (#737)
North Cascades -- Ross Lake

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Red MarkerEast Bank Ross Lake
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